Angie Herbers

To be a great business, an advisory firm needs to run on well-defined processes. When a firm is built in this way, every team member understands their role and knows what to do in each situation.

Imagine the chaos an emergency room would experience if its employees didn’t have protocols for the many circumstance they might encounter. Advisory firms that don’t rely on procedure and protocol run the same risk of disorganization.

If you’re not currently operating your firm in a process-driven framework, here are five steps to get you started.

1: Get Your Leaders on Board

Unless a firm’s leaders support and live by the processes created, no one else in the firm will follow them either.

If you’re a firm owner, know that you have to be the biggest advocate of following procedures. You might have an operations person who does the work of creating them, but you have to practice what you preach.

2: Document Your Process Methodology

If you have the conviction to create a process-driven firm, the next step is to identify how you are going to create those processes. In other words, create a methodology for how you to decide which processes are most important and thus will be the first to focus on.

To do that well, you need to engage your operations staff to identify which processes they repeat most often. By defining your firm’s routines, you’ll be able to quickly move to working through the processes you need to create to support these everyday actions.

3: Define Micro-Processes

Processes, however, will only be as good as they are specific. Whenever an employee performs an action, you want them to be doing the exact same thing, every time.

For example, think about your new client on-boarding process. Does each client you onboard get the same treatment? If not, this is a great place to start.

4: Train Your People

A great process can’t simply be written down; you also need to educate your team, so that everyone knows the protocol. Does each person on your team know their role and purpose in your organization?

Good training practices will show you where breakdowns are occurring. You’ll be able to decide if it’s the process that needs enhancing or the training of the person preforming the process.

5: Refine Over Time

Even if you have the best training staff in the industry, your processes will never be perfect. You need to be committed to constant improvement.

One way to regularly improve them is to create an operations manual that describes all of your processes in a single document. If your CRM allows for workflow creation, you also can embed this information there to help automate the use of these details by your team.

Above all else, remember that the key to creating processes that work for your organization is to be open to change and improvement. You’ll learn as you go, and learning is the goal.

See: How to Hone Your Leadership Skills in Uncertain Times, and

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